Holy Witnesses – Torah Insights – Parshah – Chabad.org

Posted By on August 18, 2020

Witnesses are an important part of every judicialsystem. Yet, as is often the case, Judaism presents a deeper dimension andperspective on the function and purpose of witnesses.

According to the Talmud, there are two categories ofwitnesses, clarifying witnesses and establishing witnesses. Clarifyingwitnesses are witnesses in the conventional sense. They observe an event andlater testify that the event indeed occurred; for example, witnesses cantestify that a man borrowed one hundred dollars from his friend. The witnesses,however, have no part in the transaction; the borrower is morally obligated torepay the loan whether or not the witnesses testify. It is the loan that obligateshim, not the witnesses.

The second category, establishing witnesses, isentirely different. According to Jewish law, there are events that have nolegal significance unless there are witnesses present. For example, thewitnesses at a wedding ceremony not only attest that the wedding took place,but actually establish the marriage itself. Without proper witnesses, themarriage would have no legal significance.

In other words, the clarifying witnesses reveal thelegal reality, and the establishing witnesses actively participate increating a legal reality. But these two categories of witnesses are not justlegal definitions; theyre relevant to the inner, spiritual dimension of theTorah.

The prophet Isaiah tells us: You are My witnesses, says the Lrd.We are the witnesses charged with the responsibility to testify and revealthe truth of Gd throughout the earth.Our spiritual task as witnesses contains both dimensions, clarifying andestablishing, We serve as clarifying witnesses when we recognize the presenceof Gd in the magnificent universe He created. When we remind ourselves andothers of the good inherent in the world and within people.

Yet merely observing, appreciating and sharing doesnot capture the full potential and greatness of the Jew, for the Jew is awitness to a marriage, the marriage between Creator and creation, between theGd and the Jewish people, between heaven and earth. As previously explained,the witnesses of a marriage are establishing witnesses, part of the creationand establishment of the marriage.

To be a witness to the marriage of heaven and earth,the Jew must do more than appreciate and focus on the inherent Gdliness foundon earth. The Jew must partner with Gd in creation. The Jew actively improvesand elevates the world around him. He transforms the mundane by imbuing it withmeaning and holiness. The Jew doesn't just tell a story, the Jew seeks toactively create it.

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Holy Witnesses - Torah Insights - Parshah - Chabad.org

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